Lutz in 1944
|Swiss Vice-Consul to Hungary for Budapest|
January 1942 –1945
|Born||30 March 1895|
|Died||12 February 1975 79) (aged|
Among the Nations
Carl Lutz (30 March 1895 – 12 February 1975) was a Swiss diplomat. He served as the Swiss Vice-Consul in Budapest, Hungary from 1942 until the end of World War II. He is credited with saving over 62,000 Jews, the largest rescue operation of Jews of the Second World War.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central, and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.
Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, and the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city had an estimated population of 1,752,704 in 2016 distributed over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, and forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33 percent of the population of Hungary.
Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest. Other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.
Due to his actions, half of the Jewish population of Budapest survived and was not deported to Nazi extermination camps during the Holocaust. He was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
Nazi Germany built extermination camps during the Holocaust in World War II, to systematically kill millions of Jews, Slavs, Poles, Roma, Soviet POWs, political opponents and others whom the Nazis considered "Untermenschen" ("subhumans"). The victims of death camps were primarily killed by gassing, either in permanent installations constructed for this specific purpose, or by means of gas vans. Some Nazi camps, such as Auschwitz and Majdanek, served a dual purpose before the end of the war in 1945: extermination by poison gas, but also through extreme work under starvation conditions.
Righteous Among the Nations is an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The term originates with the concept of "righteous gentiles", a term used in rabbinic Judaism to refer to non-Jews, called ger toshav, who abide by the Seven Laws of Noah.
Yad Vashem is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the dead; honoring Jews who fought against their Nazi oppressors and Gentiles who selflessly aided Jews in need; and researching the phenomenon of the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, with the aim of avoiding such events in the future.
Lutz was born on 30 March 1895 to Johannes and Ursula Lutz in Walzenhausen, Switzerland, in the mountains of the canton of Appenzell in the northeast of Switzerland, and attended local schools.His father owned a sandstone quarry. In 1909 when he was 14 years old his mother died of tuberculosis. At the age of 15 he began working in an apprenticeship in a textile mill in St. Margrethen.
A canton is a type of administrative division of a country. In general, cantons are relatively small in terms of area and population when compared with other administrative divisions such as counties, departments, or provinces. Internationally, the best-known cantons - and the most politically important - are those of Switzerland. As the constituents of the Swiss Confederation, theoretically, the Swiss cantons are semi-sovereign states.
Appenzell is a historic canton in the northeast of Switzerland, and entirely surrounded by the canton of St. Gallen.
Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized mineral particles or rock fragments.
He immigrated in 1913 at the age of 18 to the United States, where he lived and worked for more than 20 years. He worked in Granite City, Illinois, from 1913–18 to earn money for college, and started his studies at Central Wesleyan College in Warrenton, Missouri from 1918–20.
Granite City is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States, within the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. The population was 29,849 at the 2010 census, making it the second-largest city in the Metro East and Southern Illinois regions, behind Belleville. Officially founded in 1896, Granite City was named by the Niedringhaus brothers, William and Frederick, who established it as a steel making company town for the manufacture of kitchen utensils made to resemble granite.
Central Wesleyan College was a private college sponsored by the Methodist Church in Warrenton, Missouri from 1864 to 1941.
Warrenton is a city in Warren County, Missouri, United States. The population was 7,880 according to the 2010 Census. It is the county seat of Warren County. Warrenton is located in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. Warrenton's slogan is "A City for All Seasons."
In 1920, Lutz found a job in the Swiss consular corps at the Swiss Legation in Washington, D.C.He continued his education there at George Washington University, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1924. During his time in Washington, D.C., Lutz lived in Dupont Circle. He continued to work for the Swiss Legation.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.
The George Washington University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. It was chartered in 1821 by an act of the United States Congress.
Dupont Circle is a traffic circle, park, neighborhood, and historic district in Northwest Washington, D.C.. The Dupont Circle neighborhood is bounded approximately by 16th Street NW to the east, 22nd Street NW to the west, M Street NW to the south, and Florida Avenue NW to the north. Much of the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, the local government Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Dupont Circle Historic District have slightly different boundaries.
In 1926, Lutz was appointed as chancellor at the Swiss Consulate in Philadelphia, United States. He next was assigned to the Swiss Consulate in St. Louis, and served in total from 1926 to 1934 in the two cities.
Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
St. Louis is an independent city and major inland port in the U.S. state of Missouri. It is situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which marks Missouri's border with Illinois. The Missouri River merges with the Mississippi River just north of the city. These two rivers combined form the fourth longest river system in the world. The city had an estimated 2017 population of 308,626 and is the cultural and economic center of the St. Louis metropolitan area, which is the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the second-largest in Illinois, and the 22nd-largest in the United States.
In 1934, he met his first wife, Gertrud Fankhauser, and they married in January 1935.Lutz left the United States after more than 20 years. He was assigned in January 1935 as vice-consul to the Swiss Consulate General in Jaffa, in what was then Mandatory Palestine. In 1936, from their apartment he and his wife saw an unarmed Jew being lynched by an Arab crowd. He served there until 1942.
Appointed in 1942 as Swiss vice-consul in Budapest, Hungary, Lutz soon began cooperating with the Jewish Agency for Israel. He issued Swiss safe-conduct documents that enabled almost 10,000 Hungarian Jewish children to emigrate, and saved over 62,000 Jews.
Once the Nazis took over Budapest in 1944, they began deporting Jews to the death camps. Lutz negotiated a special deal with the Hungarian government and the Nazis. He gained permission to issue protective letters to 8,000 Hungarian Jews for emigration to Palestine.
Lutz deliberately used his permission for 8,000 as applying to families rather than individuals, and proceeded to issue tens of thousands of additional protective letters, all of them bearing a number between one and 8,000. He also set up some 76 "safe houses" around Budapest, declaring them annexes of the Swiss legation and thus off-limits to Hungarian forces or Nazi soldiers. Among the safe houses was the now well known "Glass House" (Üvegház) at Vadász Street 29. About 3,000 Hungarian Jews found refuge at the Glass House and in a neighboring building.
One day, in front of the fascist Arrow Cross Party militiamen while they fired at Jews, Lutz jumped in the Danube River to save a bleeding Jewish woman along the quay that today bears his name in Budapest (Carl Lutz Rakpart). With water up to his chest and covering his suit, the consul swam back to the bank with her and asked to speak to the Hungarian officer in charge of the firing squad. Declaring the wounded woman a foreign citizen protected by Switzerland and quoting international covenants, the Swiss consul brought her back to his car in front of the stunned fascists and left quietly. Fearing to shoot at this tall man who seemed to be important and spoke so eloquently, no one dared to stop him.
Together with other diplomats of neutral countries, such as Raoul Wallenberg, appointed at the Swedish embassy, Carlos de Liz-Texeira Branquinho and Sampaio Garrido at the Portuguese Embassy, Angelo Rotta, the Apostolic nuncio of the Holy See; Angel Sanz Briz, the Spanish Minister, later followed by Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian businessman working at the Spanish embassy, and Friedrich Born, the Swiss delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Lutz worked relentlessly for many months to prevent the planned deaths of innocent people. He and his colleagues dodged the actions of their German and Hungarian counterparts. Thanks to his diplomatic skills, Lutz succeeded in persuading Hungarian and Nazi German officials, among them Adolf Eichmann, to tolerate, at least in part, his formal protection of Hungarian Jews. Lutz's efforts to undermine the Nazi genocide were so bold and so extensive that, in November 1944, Proconsul Edmund Veesenmayer, the German representative in Hungary, asked permission to assassinate the Swiss Consul; Berlin never answered.
The Swiss Minister, Maximilian Jaeger, supported Lutz until his departure at his government's orders as the Soviet Army approached in late 1944.In the last weeks before the Red Army took the city, Lutz was helped by Harald Feller, who took over responsibility of the Swiss legation after Jaeger's departure. Lutz's wife Gertrud ('Trudi') notably played a central supporting role during the whole period of her husband's activities in Budapest.
Carl Lutz and his wife returned to Switzerland in January 1945 and divorced in 1946, and in 1949 he re-married, to Magda Csányi, who during the war had asked him to protect her and her daughter, Agnes.He retired in 1961. From 1945–54 he was stationed in Berne and Zurich, Section for Foreign Interests of the Federal Political Department, and from 1952–61 he was Consul General in Bregenz, Austria.
Lutz died in Bern, Switzerland, in 1975.
Lutz saved the lives of tens of thousands of people. As in the case of Paul Grüninger, however, his achievements were not immediately recognized in Switzerland. Soon after the war, he was first criticized by the Swiss government for having exceeded his authority, as officials were fearful of endangering Switzerland's neutral status.Many years later, in 1958, as part of Swiss national rethinking of the war years, Lutz was "rehabilitated" in terms of public reputation, and his achievements were honored.
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Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust are those who, during World War II, helped Jews and others escape the Holocaust conducted by Nazi Germany. A well-known rescuer was Oskar Schindler, one of thousands who have been so recognized.
Giorgio Perlasca was an Italian businessman and former fascist who, with the collaboration of official diplomats, posed as the Spanish consul-general to Hungary in the winter of 1944, and saved 5,218 Jews from deportation to Nazi Germany death camps in eastern Europe.
Ángel Sanz Briz was a Spanish diplomat who served under Francoist Spain during World War II. He saved the lives of some five thousand Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz. Sanz Briz is sometimes referred to as "the angel of Budapest".
Ho Feng-Shan was a Chinese diplomat for the Republic of China. When he was consul-general in Vienna during World War II, he risked his life and career to save more than 3,000 Jews by issuing them visas, disobeying the instruction of his superiors. Ho's actions were recognized posthumously when the Israeli organization Yad Vashem in 2000 decided to award him the title "Righteous Among the Nations".
Per Johan Valentin Anger was a Swedish diplomat. Anger was Raoul Wallenberg's co-worker at the Swedish legation in Budapest during World War II when many Jews were saved because they were supplied with Swedish passports. After the war, he spent a lot of time trying to clarify Wallenberg's fate.
The Glass House was a building used by the Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz to help Jews in Budapest during the Holocaust.
The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial in Budapest, Hungary. Conceived by film director Can Togay, he created it on the east bank of the Danube River with sculptor Gyula Pauer to honour the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank.
Harald Feller was a Swiss diplomat who saved Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, for which he was honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1999.
David H. Kranzler was an American professor of library science at Queensborough Community College, New York, who specialized in the study of the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.
Friedrich Born was a Swiss delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Budapest between May 1944 and January 1945, when he had to leave Hungary following orders of the occupying Red Army.
Angelo Rotta, originally from Milan, Italy, was the Apostolic Papal Nuncio in Budapest at the end of World War II. He was involved in the rescue of the Jews of Budapest from the Nazi Holocaust, and is a significant figure in Catholic resistance to Nazism.
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George Mantello was a Jewish diplomat who, while working for the Salvadoran consulate in Geneva, Switzerland from 1942 to 1945, saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by providing them with fictive Salvadoran citizenship papers. He publicized in mid-1944 the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp, which had great impact on rescue and was a major contributing factor to Hungary's Regent Miklós Horthy stopping the transports to Auschwitz.
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Juliusz Kühl also known as Julius or Yehiel Kühl was a Polish diplomat, Holocaust rescuer and – after the World War II – Canadian construction businessman. Kühl was a member of the Bernese Group also called as Ładoś Group and he is particularly known for his role in the production of false Latin American passports by the Polish Legation in Bern, Switzerland, thanks to which between several hundred and several thousand Jews in German-occupied Poland and Netherlands survived the Holocaust.
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